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Our take Grid design in a fleece is nothing new, but constructing it out of merino is an uncommon makeup. That’s what makes the Fleece Light Grid such a versatile piece, as it combines the air channels between the raised bits of merino with wool’s natural temp-regulating properties. (Only the interior of the fleece is merino; the face fabric is polyester.) We went on trail runs in this jacket under sunny skies and temps in the 60s without swamping out, and it also kept us warm over a t-shirt on days around 40°F with howling winds in Denali National Park.
The details This minimalist piece only has a single chest pocket, but it’s big enough to hold a smartphone. Polyamide/elastane reinforcements on the shoulders and forearms resisted abrasion when lugging a 45-pound pack in the thick backcountry brush during a weeklong expedition. The Fleece Light Grid packs down to the size of a softball. Bummer: It’s expensive.
Trail cred “I was afraid wading through the alders in Denali would mean lots of snags on the polyester exterior, but I don’t see any pilling after four months of heavy use,” our tester says.
$190; 9.4 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; Buy the Ortovox Fleece Light Grid Jacket Now